Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation

Russell and Danny Simmons Use Art to Educate

Russell Simmons

Miami has brought so much excitement and energy to Russell and Danny Simmons’ Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s first Art for Life Miami Beach benefit that they’ve moved the event from a private home to The Bath Club (5937 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach), allowing them to offer more tickets to the previously sold-out Miami event.

The $1,000 per ticket gala will take place on April 5 and feature many of Miami’s most famous people as Grammy award winning artist John Legend, TV personality Suze Orman, and real estate developer R. Donahue Peebles will be honored. The honorary chair is none other than Sean “P. Diddy” Combs with actress Nia Long as host and Chip & Allison Brady, Tracy Mourning and Loren Ridinger as event chairs.

At the center of the fundraiser is the cause it serves: the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation is dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, as well as providing exhibition opportunities to under-represented artists and artists of color.

Tracy Mourning

“Arts Education jump starts creative thinking,” says Danny Simmons. “Many of the children in our education programs come from disadvantaged circumstances and these programs help them to think outside of the box and envision brighter futures.”

Rush Philanthropic benefits greatly from the power generated by the celebrities who support it, and Russell Simmons has a very clear perspective of the role he plays in charity. “Well, as someone in the public eye, all I can do is help to promote causes that I feel are important,” he says. “Among these are youth, education and creativity. If I can inspire a young person to think creatively and dream about better possibilities for his or her future, and that makes them want to learn more, create more, achieve more, then I guess what little celebrity I have has been put to good use.”

Funds raised by Rush Philanthropic are used in many communities, including Miami. In celebration of Art for Life Miami Beach and as part of Rush’s efforts to promote Miami-based arts initiatives, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation has invited Miami-based schools and arts organizations to submit student (elementary to high school) works addressing the theme of personal, societal, ecological, environmental or political Transformation. The deadline for Rush Philanthropic Youth Arts competition is the week of April 24th. For more information or to apply, call 718-230-5002, or email Nina Ziefvert at

The three featured youth art beneficiaries that will be featured at the Art for Life Miami Beach are: Florida Film Institute, One Art, and Thomas Armour Youth Ballet. Other winning submissions will be included in Rush Kids & Rush Teens Spring 2008 exhibition in June at Rush Arts Gallery and Resource Center in New York City. Winners will also be recognized in a local award ceremony where they will receive a photograph of themselves and their work as well as a certificate of excellence. In order to encourage continued artistic endeavors, each winner will receive a Rush Art Supply Kit. Sponsor Organizations of the winners will receive a $500 gift certificate for art supplies for their dedication and creative initiative.

Many of Rush Philanthropic’s goals are similar to those of Miami’s Alonzo Mourning Charities, and with Tracy Mourning as an event chair, the two organizations strive to work together. In fact, Tangie Murray, Executive Director of Rush Philanthropic, has volunteered with Tracy’s Honey Shine Mentoring Program and learned a great deal about the issues facing urban youth in Miami from her experiences with the Honey Shine girls.

Allison & Chip Brady

“Tracy and Alonzo have been friends of ours, and supporters of Rush Philanthropic, for years,” explains Tangie. “We support each other’s initiatives and love the Overtown Youth Center and Honey Shine Mentoring Program. Tracy and Alonzo are so dedicated to young people and have invested a great deal of time and energy into the Miami community. It’s always a pleasure to work alongside friends with hearts like theirs.”

And heart is at the heart of Rush Philanthropic, which is why it garners the support of Miamians like Tracy Mourning and all of the generous people who will give their time and money to support this cause. To become a sponsor of Art for Life Miami Beach 2008, or to purchase tickets, please email or contact:
212-997-3034. For press inquiries, please email, or call 305-531-8241.

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